Local trainers have been handed the opportunity to claim another spring staying feature thanks to a change of plans by French trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre.
The 2010 Melbourne Cup-winning trainer had entered Herbert Power Stakes winner Shahwardi in both the Group Two Zipping Classic (2400m) and the Sandown Cup (3200m).
But the stable decided on Monday to withdraw both nominations and return to France without another run.
Shahwardi had been most likely to run in the Zipping Classic which may yet have an international runner with both My Quest For Peace and Ibicenco among the entries.
Both horses are also entered in the Sandown Cup with a decision to be made by Wednesday.
Whichever way trainer Luca Cumani goes with the pair – which is likely to be one in each race – the locals will be strongly represented.
The Zipping Classic offers former champion trainer David Hayes the chance to cap off a spring resurgence with Rawnaq who will attempt to turn back the clock to a time when three-year-olds regularly won the race.
The most recent winner from that age group is Count Ricardo in 2004, but in the 1980s three-year-olds scored a treble of victories and before that they were commonplace.
Rawnaq ran an encouraging third in the Victoria Derby last Saturday week, as had Count Ricardo in his year, and Hayes has warmed to the idea of running again before sending the colt for a spell.
“He has a huge advantage with 48kg under the conditions of the race and he’s shown he can run a genuine 2400 metres,” Hayes said.
Shahwardi leaves Australia on Wednesday accompanied by Dermot Weld’s Galileo’s Choice with the Godolphin visitors Cavalryman and Lost In The Moment leaving for Dubai on Tuesday.
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